Change Your Life

Answer the following questions:
• Are you getting what you need out of life, or do you barely get by?
• Do you see yourself as an advocate for you, or are you a victim to life’s circumstances?
• Do you look for opportunities to get your needs met, or do you always think of others first?

Under which column did you fall? You can choose to make some lifestyle changes that will alter your life dramatically. It will require a plan. It won’t just happen by “wishing it into fruition”. It will require a strategy to get you where you want to be. It will require three things:

A New Perspective
You own the power to change. In my work with people I remind them everything is a choice. When they say ‘I can’t’ I ask them to rephrase this to, ‘I choose not to’ because it reminds them that they have the power—they have control.

A Plan
When you want to change you have to learn to create an environment that supports this change. Too often, we want to change a behavior but we don’t have the infrastructure to support it. How can you design your life to make that needed change?

Last week, I asked you to think of a word that would improve your life. Today, I want you to write a goal statement about this word. Be specific with a plan. For instance:
• Nurturance: I will take better care of myself by, getting to bed earlier, taking hot baths, drinking more tea.
• Sobriety: I will stop drinking by going to AA, surrounding myself with other nondrinkers, and reading by Big Book daily.
• Family time: I will work less and enjoy my family more by taking my family to church, creating family dinners at home at least three times per week, and having a family night one time per week.

This is the toughest part of the work. If you don’t create a supportive environment, you return to old behaviors.

When you set out to achieve a goal, make yourself your number one client. Put yourself first. That’s not selfish, that’s strategy. Let others know what to expect from you and, because you have programmed others to expect certain things, it’s your turn to change those expectations. If you set aside self-reflection time, don’t let anyone disturb it. If you set aside time to go out with your friends, don’t let anyone interfere with it. When you decide to create more family time, don’t let the kids talk you out of that dinnertime.

Many people can’t afford a therapist or a coach to support them through these changes. Use this column as an opportunity to have your own personal coach. Today, I have told you to spend some time on yourself reflecting what it is that you really want. I have asked you to design your goals and strategies. I have asked you to be persistent and not let anyone or anything interfere with your goals. I would lastly encourage you to evaluate your progress every ninety days so that you may modify your goals and make them more achievable. I am writing this column for you, so make the most of it. You are in control of your life. I often ask my clients to buy the Nike t-shirt and wear it under their clothes until they achieve their goals. You know the t-shirt—Just Do It. How many of you need that t-shirt as a constant reminder that you’re important and that you can accomplish your goal?

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